Fritz and Della Rogers in Streetcar No. 60 when they were king and queen of Mining Days.
When you are gone, how will you be remembered? Will you be noted for being a volunteer? Will someone say you were always involved in the community? Let’s take a moment to remember some of the great volunteers of Webb City who are no longer with us.
One of the first volunteers that comes to mind for me is Kathryn Patten. Kathryn served many years on the Webb City Council. She didn’t mind those who complained about the city because she knew all involved were doing their best. She was noted for her involvement with King Jack Park. She worked alongside many a troubled youth who were given park duty as community service. They had to have someone watching them. Kathryn not only watched them, she rolled up her sleeves and got right in the middle of it with the workers. She also recruited her family to work in the park clearing brush and rocks. She was involved in the Missouri Community Betterment program, the Mining Days Celebration and anything involving Webb City. She was proud of her town and willing to volunteer.
Do you remember Ney Dean Cunningham? You may not if you are too young or too new to Webb City, but Ney Dean Cunningham was very active in Webb City. She served as secretary treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce. She was the bookkeeper for many organizations, usually being the only woman in the room. That may have been her doom because she developed lung cancer and never smoked a day in her life but served on many committees where the room was filled with cigarette smoke. If you were able to ask her about that she would say she would be willing to do it anyway as long as she was helping Webb City to grow.
Kathryn Patten, (center) was mayor as she was trying in this photo to explain something to the Sentinel reporter and while in the process tickling Lucinda Copeland.
Fred “Fritz” Rogers was a hard-working man. He had a salvage business that put him in contact with many buildings being demolished. But Fritz left his mark in Webb City by leading the effort to restore Streetcar No. 60. (Some folks refer to it as a trolley instead of streetcar. But in all of the written history of the streetcar in Webb City, starting in 1889 when A.H. Rogers started the mule-drawn streetcar, it was never called a trolley.) Fritz made it his lifetime ambition to acquire a streetcar to be refurbished and running in King Jack Park, and he succeeded, with the help of many friends. He put in countless hours refurbishing the streetcar and laying tracks in King Jack Park. He never took full credit as he knew he could never have succeeded without the help of his friends and fellow street car enthusiasts. But it was his dream and he never gave up. Fritz also is responsible for the Southwest Missouri Railroad monument that sits by the depot at the entrance to King Jack Park.
Another precious volunteer who comes to mind is Bill Lundstrum. Bill served as mayor of Webb City, which requires a lot of volunteer hours. (At that time, the mayor got $100 a month for expenses.) His passion was the parks in Webb City and the Boy’s Club. He served as Park Board chairman for many years. But Bill left his mark in volunteer work when he organized the Webb City Mining Days Celebration in 1980, which allowed old No. 60 to make her debut in 1981. Bill’s goal with the celebration was to earn money to build a community center, and it finally happened in January 2004. (Bill passed away three years later.) The Mining Days Community Building sits in King Jack Park due to the many volunteers who worked the Mining Days Celebration for 24 years!
I won’t name them individually, but the many City Council members who have served Webb City for the past 141 years have all been elected, but they served without pay and that makes them dedicated volunteers. It takes that dedication to help a city function. Many of the different committees that help the city are all volunteers.
Another great volunteer who has passed on is Patty Goddard Freeman. Just her friendly disposition was a bonus. Patty and her mother, Margaret Goddard, volunteered many hours on the third floor genealogy section of the Webb City Public Library and were instrumental in organizing the Webb City Area Genealogical Society. Patty spearheaded publication of the two “Red Books” about the history of Webb City, Carterville and Oronogo. She was a happy, willing volunteer and is missed.
And of course the spouse of each volunteer automatically had to follow suit. Whatever a volunteer did it seems the whole family was involved.
Jim Boyd was a great volunteer. Yes, he worked for the Parks Department back when he was the only one, except for an occasional summer part-time helper. But Jim spent much of his own time at the park, feeding the ducks (his babies) and helping with Mining Days and other activities. He always had a smile, a cigarette in his mouth (because his hands were always busy)… and time to share with you. He loved all the parks, and it showed.
Geese in King Jack Park follow their friend, Jim Boyd.